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After listening to the chorus of Obama debate bashing by liberal pundits

on MSNBC and elsewhere, I felt as if I had watched a totally different debate. I

thought the president did an excellent job, and came off cool, confident and informed.



Romney Fish Mouth Wide Open

Responses on the Denver Debate

A fish would never get caught if he didn't open his mouth.—Al Sharpton


I watched the Debate Wednesday night (3 October) and felt immediately that Obama had won the debate, had kicked Romney's ass. Then I listened to MSNBC's negative assessment of Mr. Obama's performance. The white liberal punditsRachel Maddow, Ed Schultz, and Chris Matthews—used such words  as "timid,"  "rattled," "disastrous" to describe Obama and the debates. How then do we account for this radical difference, this oppositional attack by supposedly Obama supporters. I discovered later, with the exception of maybe Lawrence O'Donnell, liberals black and white had similar views and criticism of the Debate.

The MSNBC "consensus" ignored their own poll that said that 54 percent felt that Obama either won (22%) or tied (32%). That figure was not examined, that is, that the majority did not feel that Romney had won anything. There must thus be a cultural dissonance overlooked. Reverend Al was a lone figure at the table, shunted aside. He also disagreed with his colleagues' assessment. Sharpton used a bit of rural wisdom: "A fish would never get caught if he didn't open his mouth." His was heavily an ethical assessment.

But it is not just MSNBC. Cultural awareness or reflection on the appropriate measurement seems to be no part of what I have read or heard. This subjectivity they have doubled down on it and feel justified in their conclusions, Romney won; Obama lost.

Hyper-aggression, as represented by Romney, can be met with different strategies. The white pundits left and right are agreed, however, aggression should be met with aggression. But there was also a massive barrage, catalog of references and charges. It will take fact checkers several hours to unpack all of them and only a few have been covered in MSNBC hour programs.

Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz, however, were abusive and arrogant, suggesting that Obama and his campaign could learn from him and his colleagues. These are two fellows who never ran for anything. They are talkers and they have only to answer to are their bosses at General Electric. The primary question put to them is: Are you selling ads?

In the brief 90 minutes of this poorly managed debate,  the barrage of lies and attacks could not be responded without risky and unacceptable behavior. Obama and his campaign took the long view. They knew that Romney was going to be flustered and frantic because he is behind. Aggression was countered with coolness and clarity.  If Obama had chosen a more confrontational and dismissive (or arrogant) attitude or strategy, there would have been another whole set of criticisms. It was a no-win-situation if ethics and logic are taken off the table as measures of a good debate.

I am from the school of classical rhetoric. A debate is not to be judged by the aggressiveness of a debater, but rather by three methods: in Greek, they are pathos, logos, and ethos. Measured passion, sound reasoning, all on the groundwork of ethical behavior. The latter two, especially, in Romney's presentation fell short. Obama was strong across the board. The MSNBC white pundits want a slugfest in which Obama attacked the character of Romney in the fashion of Romney against Obama. They wanted hot, not cool.

I have read and listened to a lot of material on last night's debates. Did Obama and his campaign choose the right strategy? More than likely. For the discussion does not end in one night's debate format: there are Obama ads and campaign retorts. Moreover, what the majority of listeners heard was different than MSNBC and other more conservative commentators.Rudy

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Other Responses

I was extremely disappointed in Obama's performance, and knew from his first words that he was completely exhausted: fulfilling his duties as president in the midst of international crises, campaigning and raising funds non-stop, and, on top of all that, getting ready for the debate. I question the use of Kerry as debate preparer; I question the tactic of making Obama appear presidential, likeable, and calm (which came thru as passive, disengaged, and defensive).

Romney was on the attack throughout; had been well coached for months, and exhibited all the qualities of a good debater, including pleasant smile, taking the offensive, playing to his strengths, deflecting questions to points that he wanted to make, being well organized and delivering his points clearly--one, two, three--eye contact, and taking charge. (As Cargill said, "Obama came with a conversation; Romney came with a chain saw.)

Lehrer was a disaster; he's too dang old and feeble. He let Romney roll over him.

Obama did not stress his accomplishments: Affordable Care Act, saving the auto industry, Ledbetter bill, marriage equality act, help for immigrant children, ending two wars, pulling troops out of Iraq & Afghanistan, steady job improvement, growth in the economy (the stock market is almost back to 2008 levels!).

And people wanted to know what are his plans for the future, the next 4 years.

He missed the chance to hit Romney in the balls: his 47% statement, sending jobs overseas, tax breaks for the rich, Ryan budget, anti-union stance, Bain Capital fiasco, playing to conservative issues, sending his own money offshore, etc. Obama should have hit him hard, using the words of Romney's GOP opponents like Gingrich to plaster Romney.

He going to have to come out fighting!

I sent another donation to Obama last night, before the debate, in answer to a plea from Michelle. I have been sending contributions frequently, but every day I get at least four or five appeals--from Obama, Michelle, Plouffe, and a whole bunch of people I don't know. I don't like to be pestered.

I didn't get to sleep until 2 or 3 a.m.—too tightly wound up!—Miriam

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I did not get much sleep last night—tossing and turning—more concerned, disappointed than sad.   I did not listen to the folks on MSNBC before I wrote my gut reaction.  Later, I did, and found out their reaction ran along the same lines as mine.

You know, one has to study the character of the people one governs—Americans love a feisty debate—one of give and take—and this debate was so monumentally important and so much high expectation had been built up. The President does not have to go rough, or aggressive but can firmly pin down, the slick, wily Gov. Romney to a definite issue—to give more specifics, or to acknowledge his ever-shifting positions—“Multiple Choice,” the late Sen. Kennedy called his many stances, for the Gov. lacks all morality as he shifts positions like a chameleon and blurs so many lines so that what he believes one moment is denied the next and so on and so forth. His tactics I have called predatory, Bain capitalist and his instinct / intention is always to swoop down and devour.  

I do believe that the President and his handlers under-rated Gov. Romney.  I for one did not, for I anticipated his many shifts and denials—all contained in my “Birthday Letter to Mr. President: Seabiscuit—Paradigmn of a Broken Nation”

With this man—Gov. Romney—one anticipates everything.  And there is an Igboness in me that rejects being pushed around—never an aggressor but will not let one get away with falseness and pugilism. There are still the other debates but truly, I believe the president’s supporters would relish a little more spirit, not entertainment but more sparkle and alertness. He must not let him determine the terms and direction of subsequent debates.

Finally, I will continue to wish President Barack Obama great success because of the many reasons I underlined in my first post-debate review to you. Take care, and get some sleep.—Your friend,  Rose Ure Mezu

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Dear Rudy,

Obama parried all Romney's thrusts, but he landed no punches of his own.  Still I agree with Rev Al's assessment. Romney lied aggressively.  I don't know if the tactic could have worked for Obama.  The debate on foreign policy will be nothing more than an assertion of support for Israel, and lot of sabre rattling.  Romney will win at that.

Fox News also got it right, viz. "The only consolation President Barack Obama had for his poor showing during Wednesday’s debate was that moderator Jim Lehrer did even worse. Lehrer, executive editor of “PBS Newshour," showed little ability to control the give-and-take and keep candidates to time. He even had to handle a direct attack on PBS funding.  

Former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller summed up the Lehrer criticism, giving him a D grade and calling him “road kill” in his Twitter analysis of the debate. Read more FoxNews Read more: FoxNewsWilson

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No, Mr. President, you did not make us very proud tonight.  All your fervent supporters including this writer are very disappointed tonight.

1. You allowed Gov. Romney to appear on the debate stage like a Bains-pugilist and pummell you. He kept repeating his lies—etch-a-sketched himself back to not just the middle but to the far left—now becoming a protector of the poor and disabled and elderly and you did not effectively call him out on these lies and hypocrisy. When attacked, you come out blazing with all the facts at your disposal.

2. You kept your eyes down rather look him in the face and the crowd.  I know you work hard but get some needed rest before the next debate. It would appear you were somewhat intimidated.  Why?

3.  You Mr. President, did not bring out anything on Bains, Gov. Romney's undisclosed tax returns—his utter lack of transparency, and patriotism, his money stashed away in secret offshore bank accounts that provide a tax haven to economic unpatriotic citizens like him, his stances on Immigration, women, Black and minorities, vote suppression efforts of his party, and more especially the Republican efforts and sworn oath to block your efforts from Day One of your tenure in office—to  Vote "NO" on all bills that could have created more jobs and ended the recession, the Affordable HealthCare, etc. How could you have achieved a bipartisan effort— this is missing out on all your vantages points.  

4.  You never mentioned Women's issue, barely mentioned Gay Rights issue, the 47% Secret tape,  Immigration, the plight of the very poor and uninsured. The role of government is not just to provide Security (do not let him put you on the defensive on this issue), but also to protect not just the middle class but all citizens including the very poor and helpless - they are not moochers, and takers and irresponsible - they are citizens who have worked hard, earned their benefit or who need a leg up.   You wife testified to that effectively. This man actually wrote off exactly half of the country with his—"My job is not to concern myself with this people"—the 47%) and you allowed him to get away with it.—Rose Ure Mezu

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President Obama needs a bottle of energy pills. The burden of being the President is draining the man. Romney does not have those burdens and can look fresh. Pray that we elect substance rather than television images in November.—Jerry Ward

Bob, I don't think that Obama drove anything home at all. He was struggling to organize his thoughts on each response. He appeared to be helpless up there. Unprepared. Why, for example, didn't he mention the sabotage of his administration from the very first moment? He didn't go for the jugular even once. What IS this? He folded like a deck of cards—he appeared to take a dive. Mike, I agree that it isn't over 'till the fat lady sings.—Carol A. Crumlish

Here is one strategy like Sugar Ray Robinson laying a mental trap for his opponent, lure him in and then time him with a well-placed upper-cut. Down goes Mitt, down goes Mitt! That's one scheme.—Cole Riley

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One big difference was that Romney faced Obama all the time, coming off as strong. Obama tended to aim his answers at Jim Lehrer. I listened much of it twice, once on my radio and then I watched in on TV when I got home. It was amazing how much better I thought Obama was doing when I could not see the two men.

Obama lacked a certain heart for the thing somehow. I have never seen Romney so effective--he is usually quite bad. Obama seemed blue and a little bored. Mitt was inspired, though he was often just straight up lying.— Timothy B. Tyson

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 He seemed to hold back on Romney, which is unfortunate. Romney strikes me as the type of man who has never had a real, all-too-necessary ass kicking. It is my fear that last night was an Obama strategy to not be overly-aggressive, so as to not appear the "angry Black man" to an American electorate that has proven time and time again that they can not stomach an assertive, intelligent, "unfuckwithable" Brotha (or Sista). If so, it's time for a different, more direct approach.—Scott Emerson

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The Obama camp is tweeting all sorts of "mostly false" things Romney said last night. I am just profoundly disappointed that our Obama supporters are having to defend President Obama today. Why didn't the President point some of these things out? Some of the clear distinctions were made, but the President was far too "nice" last night. I am hoping for clear and crisp "you said exactly the opposite" notations by President Obama in the next two debates.—Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper

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Obama took a couple of naps during the debate and even went back stage for a grilled cheese sandwich while Romney pimp smacked him, Big Bird and ramroded Jim Lehrer with the bullying arrogance of a corporate raider beating him down with his inflamed Grecian Formula Grandpa Munster brows.—Tony Medina

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Many people wondered why Obama did not mention Romney's statement:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it—that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax. ... [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

I don't think Obama should mention the 47% so early in the debates. I say wait to a point in the debate, perhaps when Obama gives his final statement, a point when Romney will not have an opportunity to give his reaction—one which I sure his camp put a great deal of effort into crafting—Troy Johnson

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"How much did I lie?"—The results of Wednesday night's first presidential debate are in and it's official: Mitt Romney won round one. He was aggressive, he was decisive, he delivered. Of course he also lied through his teeth for most of the debate. Romney lied:

When he claimed that "pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan." They're not.

When he said that President Obama had "cut Medicare by $716 billion to pay for Obamacare." Obama didn't.

When he denied proposing a $5 trillion tax cut. He did.

When he said President Obama had "added almost as much to the federal debt as all the prior presidents combined." Not even close.
When he resurrected "death panels." That was called "one of the biggest whoppers of the night."

When he stated that half the green energy companies given stimulus funds had failed. Only if three out of nearly three dozen is half.

Stay tuned. These just scratch the surface.—REUTERS

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Romney's promise to defund PBS and the gang over at Sesame Street has definitely generated more buzz than almost anything else the candidates touched on last night.PoliticsNation with Al Sharpton

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Mitt Romney suggested that the federal government borrows money from China to fund PBS. Tax payers provide 15% of the funding for PBS and the rest is funded by viewers and non-governmental grants. PBS has been one of the many targets of defunding by Conservatives and they feel that 69% of voters should not be entitled to educational programming for children, documentaries, cooking shows, nature shows and "news" not produced by Roger Ailes and FOX News.—Black Talk Radio Network

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With all due respect to the rural wisdom, I was more impressed when the Rev. just told the blunt truth—Romney was lying.  The general assessment I'm reading is that neither Jim Lehrer nor MSNBC did Obama any favors.  The general assessment I'm reading is that neither Jim Lehrer nor MSNBC did Obama any favors.—Wilson

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Did I Watch the Same Debate as My Fellow Liberal Pundits?—Scott Blakeman—4 October 2012—After listening to the chorus of Obama debate bashing by liberal pundits on MSNBC and elsewhere, I felt as if I had watched a totally different debate. I thought the president did an excellent job, and came off cool, confident and informed. Mitt Romney seemed agitated, anxious and out of breath. Liberal pundits have to realize the president's goal in the debate wasn't to play to liberals. It was to connect with independents and moderate Republicans who are undecided. And I think he achieved that goal.

Even those who proclaimed Romney to be the winner of the debate conceded that he had expressed opinions diametrically opposed to positions he had taken previously in the campaign. The reinvented Romney claimed to be against cutting aid to education, while the pre-October 3 Romney called for abolishing the Department of Education, and was against the Jobs Act provision that would have saved hundreds of thousands of teaching jobs.

And did pundits really think Romney scored when he praised his Massachusetts health care plan but called for the repeal of Obamacare? I thought the president nailed him on that inconsistency. The basic thrust of the post-debate punditry was that Romney had better energy than the president. How does coming off loud and frenetic make you appear more presidential? Are these men running for president or are they trying out to be a spokesman for late-night infomercials?—huffingtonpost

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10 Most Shameless Romney Debate Lies Debunked / At Last Night's Debate: Romney Told 27 Myths in 38 Minutes

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Obama’s Disastrous Debate—4 October 2012—Obama must have had too much to eat for dinner, or he made a bad choice by choosing the decaf instead of the regular. Because he was sluggish and dull and let Romney box him all over the ring. Obama was on the ropes almost the whole night, and he was so detached I thought his arms were going to snap off.

He failed to mention the 47% video.

He failed to mention Bain capital.

He failed to mention Romney’s paltry job record in Massachusetts.

He failed to mention a woman’s right to choose.

He failed to stress the moral argument for the Affordable Care Act (and for some reason embraced the term “Obamacare”), and he got lost in the thicket of controlling health care costs. He failed to rebut Romney’s repeated claim that Obama was hurting seniors by cutting $716 billion from Medicare. (Romney used the $716 billion figure 716 times!) He failed to mention that Paul Ryan himself also called for that cut and that all the Republicans in the House endorsed it. He failed to stress how bad the economy was when he inherited it and that he prevented a depression—he made this point in only one sentence. . . .Progressive

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Obama's Approval Rating Soars To Its Highest Point In Three Years—Brett LoGiurato—4 October 2012—In the midst of a painful news cycle after last night's debate, President Barack Obama received a bright sign for re-election. His Gallup approval rating hit 54 percent, jumping to its highest level since November 2009.  His approval rating soared four points from the previous day in Gallup's three-day rolling average. The last time he matched that came in the Nov. 11-13, 2009 period. The 54-percent mark puts Obama well above the "safe" 50-percent threshold for an incumbent's re-election.—Businessinsider

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For Obama, No More Excuses—Bob Herbert—5 October 2012—But Obama never fought back in kind. He never found his inner Harry Truman, never took his case forcefully to the people. He kept trying to accommodate the other side long after it was clear that no accommodation was possible.

In the face of the worst economic calamity since the 1930s, the United States needed a mammoth job-creation and economic revitalization program, a New Deal for the 21st century. But that would have required presidential leadership capable of challenging the formidable opposition mounted by the very folks who caused the crisis in the first place. Instead we got a woefully insufficient stimulus program and a failed effort at some kind of grand bargain between the president and the retrograde Republicans in Congress. That grand bargain would have imposed austerity measures that would have further crushed the poor and the black and the middle class.On Wednesday night nearly 60 million television viewers got to witness this chronic unwillingness of Barack Obama to fight. He did not hammer Mitt Romney for his ugly, all-too-revealing comments that demeaned nearly half the population as slackers and ne-er-do-wells—commondreams

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Mr. Herbert, a good black liberal, has other issues than the debate. The primary one is our lack of a spokesman in the White House for the black poor. But the Black Left has been making that criticism from Day One, nay, since the 2008 primary, e.g., Black Agenda Report.

I made protests then as well, and since: Sexual Morality, Black Male Abandonment

But black liberals have been making apologies for Mr. Obama, since the 2008 campaign, defending him against Black left criticisms. And now these political deficiencies on domestic issues seem to become evident and apparent, only now, for black liberals in Obama's Romney confrontation. I must question the ethics of such criticisms.

Mr. Obama has always been an opportunist politician. Where was Mr. Herbert when Mr. Obama attacked the black poor, black men, on their irresponsibility and their inability to take care of their children and defend their girl friends and wives. And we all know why he did that. He did it to make an appeal to conservative white voters, not a few of them Republicans.

Where was Mr. Herbert and others like him when they ignored Mr. Obama choosing a Republican conservative health plan rather than the public option? There are numerous other such issues like his lack of support for teachers and labor unions. The Race to the Top is a joke; the trade unionists are sycophants and have avoided criticism of Mr. Obama during the political struggles in Wisconsin and Chicago protests.

To now direct their criticism at a single debate that is meaningless in the larger picture of a campaign is some "chutzpah" on the part of the so-called liberal left, which is more conservative than liberal. They want Mr. Obama now to show up in the first debate as the Champion of the Poor. One might say that Richard Nixon was more liberal than they are in the defense of the poor, too often stereotyped (in similar terms as whites) by the black liberal left and Obama's obsequious fans.

Mr. Obama is nothing if not a pragmatic politician in which winning office is more important than liberal idealism. The same criticism could be applied to his domestic security deficits and his militaristic foreign policies. Mr. Obama is not a liberal in the tradition of FDR or LBJ. He is a New Democrat imperialist who at times finds it convenient to be a liberal populist.

Mr. Herbert is a hypocrite and an opportunist, filled with conceit and deceit that he cares more for the black poor than Mr. Obama. He suggests that only during that first debate that the scales over his liberal eyes fell away, that he did not realize that in American politics the black poor are always expendable cannon fodder. Liberal left criticisms are a day late and a dollar short.Rudy

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Romney's Sick Joke—Paul Krugman—4 October 2012—OK, so Obama did a terrible job in the debate, and Romney did well. But in the end, this isn't or shouldn't be about theater criticism, it should be about substance. And the fact is that everything Obama said was basically true, while much of what Romney said was either outright false or so misleading as to be the moral equivalent of a lie. . . . Mr. Romney: Letwell, actuallyactually it'sit'sit's a lengthy description, but number one, pre-existing conditions are covered under my plan. . . . So enough with the theater criticism; Romney needs to be held accountable for dishonesty on a huge scale.—readersupportednews

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Did Romney 'Win' the Debate?Robert Parry4 October 12In the presidential debate that I watched on Wednesday night, Republican challenger Mitt Romney was shiftier than Dick Nixon in 1960 and less coherent than George W. Bush in 2000, but the TV pundits, including on MSNBC, overwhelmingly declared him the winner.

When I tried to follow Romney's logic, I couldn't. Somehow the federal government was supposed to rein in rising health care costs but his only idea for doing so was to let the free-market work when it is clear thatwhatever the shortcomings of "Obamacare"the old model of health insurance was broken. . . .

In the debate that I saw, Romney seemed to be on the defensive, in large part, due to the incoherence and incompleteness of his arguments. And that reflected itself in his body language. He shifted nervously, blinked rapidly and displayed a forced smile. It looked like he was about to tear up during his closing remarks.

I saw a man struggling at the end of his rope. By contrast, Obama looked, well, presidential. He was never flustered and mounted vigorous defenses of his policies, offering details about what he had done and what he would do. Yet, he didn't sound overly defensive or whiny, a big risk in such a setting.

One could fault Obama for not being more aggressive with host Jim Lehrer, who curiously seemed determined to stop the President from exceeding his time limit while letting Romney ramble on. But that is more a criticism of Lehrer, who behaved like PBS types often dothey go weak in the knees when a Republican talks about slashing the subsidy for public broadcasting, as Romney pointedly did.

So, I came away from watching the 90-minute debate thinking that Romney had come as close to melting down in front of a huge national audience as anyone I have ever seen in my half century of watching presidential debates. Pundits often fall back on the cliché that "no one landed a knock-out punch," but this was as close to having one candidate lying on the mat as I have ever seen, although it was mostly Romney doing the damage to himself.

Yet, immediately after the debate - even on liberal-leaning MSNBCRepublican commentators were given the floor and allowed to set the tone of the meeting. On MSNBC, Rachel Maddow deferred to GOP campaign strategist Steve Schmidt, who gushed over Romney's performance. The verdict was "Romney won."

Everyone on the set except for Al Sharpton fell in line. Ed Schultz blasted Obama for not lashing out at Romney and especially for not blasting Romney's portrayal of 47 percent of the U.S. population as irresponsible moochers. . . .

What was particularly startling about the MSNBC commentary was its lack of substance—except for Sharpton, who zeroed in on the discrepancies between Romney's months of campaign statements as a "severely conservative" ex-governor of Massachusetts and his reinvention of himself as a caring fellow on Wednesday. . . .

For his part, Ed Schultz sounded more like a disgruntled lefty who wanted Obama to be the perfect gladiator mercilessly chopping Romney to pieces and then asking the American TV audience, "are you not entertained?" But that approach would have opened Obama to another line of attack, the angry black man, a balancing act that Obama instinctively senses but that white liberals don't seem to get. The only MSNBC anchor cutting through the "Romney won" spin was Sharpton.readersupportednews

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Why Romney Beat Obama—Margaret Kimberley—10 October 2012—Unfortunately, most Democrats still refuse to admit what happened right before their eyes. While criticizing the president’s debate performance they were not willing to admit that the Obama who stood on stage is the real Obama. Stripped of a script he was laid bare before the world, an empty suit devoid of any conviction except the desire to stay in office.

The debate allowed the previously bumbling Romney to suddenly look capable and gave many people new reason to give him serious consideration. Obama needed only to look presidential in order to live up to expectations but is now facing a serious challenge because he isn’t as slick as he thought.

It is unlikely that Barack Obama will allow himself to be bested more than once. No one with a small ego becomes president of the United States. But the question isn’t really whether or not he will turn in a better performance. Instead it is whether Democrats will believe their eyes and ears and accept that the real Barack Obama is in fact the man they saw on stage. blackagendareport

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The Black Count

Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo

By Tom Reiss

Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo—a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature. Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave—who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time. Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy.

Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East—until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat.

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Master of the Mountain: Thomas Jefferson and His Slaves

By Henry Wiencek

Is there anything new to say about Thomas Jefferson and slavery? The answer is a resounding yes. Master of the Mountain, Henry Wiencek’s eloquent, persuasive book—based on new information coming from archaeological work at Monticello and on hitherto overlooked or disregarded evidence in Jefferson’s papers—opens up a huge, poorly understood dimension of Jefferson’s world. We must, Wiencek suggests, follow the money. So far, historians have offered only easy irony or paradox to explain this extraordinary Founding Father who was an emancipationist in his youth and then recoiled from his own inspiring rhetoric and equivocated about slavery; who enjoyed his renown as a revolutionary leader yet kept some of his own children as slaves. But Wiencek’s Jefferson is a man of business and public affairs who makes a success of his debt-ridden plantation thanks to what he calls the “silent profits” gained from his slaves—and thanks to a skewed moral universe that he and thousands of others readily inhabited.

We see Jefferson taking out a slave-equity line of credit with a Dutch bank to finance the building of Monticello and deftly creating smoke screens when visitors are dismayed by his apparent endorsement of a system they thought he’d vowed to overturn. It is not a pretty story. Slave boys are whipped to make them work in the nail factory at Monticello that pays Jefferson’s grocery bills. Parents are divided from children—in his ledgers they are recast as money—while he composes theories that obscure the dynamics of what some of his friends call “a vile commerce.” Dark Side of Thomas Jefferson

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of Haiti 

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posted 5 October 2012 




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